As parents we find ourselves getting extremely angry at our children and more often than not we are doing it every single day! We don’t do this because we hate our children or want to treat them that way in fact it’s far from it we tend to do this because of stress, frustration, irritation, and of course anger that things aren’t going the way WE want them to go.
The more they seem to disobey us, the more we find ourselves getting angry and shouting at them. I vividly remember calling my mother on a few occasions (I’m a single parent) and crying down the phone saying something like…”Why won’t they just listen mum?” Or “they are really pushing me to breaking point I can’t do this!” Of course that isn’t the case it’s just good to vent every now and then and release our frustrations.
If you are anything like me you will of course be able to relate to the mother who takes her child to the local swing-park or a soft play area and her child ends up pushing another child out of the way just to go down the slide first. Of course at that moment our first instinct is to stop and shout “Stop doing that! No pushing! Do you want to go home! Say you’re sorry” all in one loud breath.
Is it really the answer though? Should we be shouting? Are they even listening to us when we do shout?
This is when your young child of course rebels and shouts back “no!” In turn, you find yourself repeatedly shouting the same thing over and over again, with no positive outcome other than you both getting upset and ending up going home.
So what can I do instead? What actually works? I hear you ask… well here are some of my tricks just for that occasion.
MISTAKES YOU MAKE.
Every time you shout and take your frustration out on your children, you are encouraging them to act in a similar manner. You are provoking them to act out, talk back, and of course portray the same behaviour onto you and to others.
We all make these mistakes and catch ourselves in the act. You’ll realise that it doesn’t help the situation, it just feeds the fire.
HOW TO DISCIPLINE WITHOUT SHOUTING.
- Be attentive to your child.
The best thing to do is first remove your child from the situation and pay attention to the child. Why? Their bad behaviour was a result of not getting what they wanted, from seeking attention, in turn not being heard.
A lot of the time, when children have trouble communicating, they commonly begin to express their anger and frustration onto others.
By giving a child your attention, it shows that they matter and that you understand how they’re feeling.
- Calm the situation down.
Mum before you go on a screaming match just take a deep breath, together. Instead of being upset give them a hug or distract them with something. Once the child is calm, they will be more likely to listen to what they have done wrong apologise and you can explain why they shouldn’t be doing that instead of them blocking you out when they’re in fit of rage.
- Understanding their emotions.
Once the child has calmed down, you can acknowledge their underlying intentions, “you really wanted to play with that toy didn’t you?” Show empathy to your child’s feelings by getting on their level. They will most likely communicate back to you “mummy I’m tired” or “I’m hungry.”
- Talk in a calm but firm manner.
“I understand that you are tired, but you should tell me that instead of throwing your toys and hitting your sister.” Get on their level, make eye contact, talk in a soft but firm manner.
Your child is more likely to listen to a calm voice than an angry one. Show that you are serious (do NOT smile no matter how cute and innocent they look or if they start laughing) so they know that what they did is not okay.
- Following through with consequences.
“We will put your dolls away until tomorrow, when you’re ready to play with them.” If they manage to find them or get a hold of one of them again, place them out of reach and follow through with what you said.
They will recognize that the next time they throw their toys across the room or hit someone their toys will be taken away from them. In turn, they will learn their lesson.
- Repeat and do NOT give in!
So you have followed through with consequences the first time your child misbehaved, but now they’ve ignored your commands and continue to throw more toys.
It’s crucial to repeat the consequences – continue to put the toys away until the next day when they can try to play nicely with them again even if this in turn ends up with them having no toys by the end of their strop. Set out the rules, and repeat without giving in.
- Following by example.
The moment you see bad behaviour starting to creep it’s way in, step in before it even happens. Guide your child by showing them how to do things properly.
Take their plate away from them before they throw their food on the floor. Set their dolls down, gently dress them and brush their hair.
Show your child how to care for their toys and play gently because if they don’t they won’t have any toys and they’re more than likely to remember how to play properly in the future by following your example.
Instead of you just shouting “stop what you are doing”, explain clearly why your child should not do something. “You need to play nice with your toys, or they might break.” Or “don’t climb on the table because you could fall and hurt yourself.” They are more than likely going to think about what you said and comply.
- Tell them exactly what you want them to do.
Once you’ve explained why they are not allowed to do something, tell them what they are allowed to do. “You can play in your bedroom” rather than you just saying “no toys in the living room.” Telling them what they are not allowed to do will only encourage them to act out again and again.
- Praise positive behaviour.
When your child listens to you and obeys your commands, stop what you’re doing and tell them straight away that you’ve noticed. “You played nicely today!” or “great job for sharing!”. I know it can be a funny thing to say, usually that’s what we do with puppies – we give them treats when they do what we say.
Well, puppies are like children to most of us anyways! So, the same thing goes with our kids. They love our attention, affection, and seeing us happy. They will want to have their reward so badly that they will clean up all of their toys just to get your praise and some time on the iPad.
I’ve tried everything you can possibly do with my daughters from time-outs to shouting and grounding and they’re only useful the first few times. When you witness your child’s bad behaviour, the opposite of a time-out is most effective.
Instead of shouting just take them aside, calm them down, and pay attention. Emphasize with your child, understand their feelings and intentions. Get down to their level and understand what they’re going through. Always keep eye contact while talking in a calm yet stern manner.
Remember you mean business and YOU are in control.
Explain to your child why they are not allowed to do something and what the consequences of those actions are. Repeat, repeat, repeat, and never give in and always follow through with those consequences so they understand you are the boss.
What are some of your techniques when it comes to disciplining your child? How do you calm your nerves?